It should be obvious by now that the National Security Agency (NSA) and other elements of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) have been operating far beyond the limits of both the Constitution and the inconvenient controls of an ignorant and easily misled Congress. When one listens to committee hearings and news-clips of official statements with a knowledgeable ear, it’s easy to see why the Agencies skirt or outright violate the law on a routine basis.
It is easy to manipulate Congress when most of its members are never fully briefed on anything the Agencies do. Easier still to control the small number of members, on the intelligence committees, that have no idea about the infrastructure and technical capabilities of the comprehensive Directorate. Much less, how much overlap and function duplication there is.
With that in mind it is also too apparent, from recent disclosures, of the need forthe American people to understand what their government has been doing to their privacy and civil liberties. The following questions are for the press and media pundits, elected officials and everyday citizens to begin to ask the right questions of DNI/NSA officials. Without immediately delving into specific classified programs, these questions are intended to indicate the size and scope of global and domestic surveillance and overall capabilities:
1) What is the total amount (in square footage) of the operational and computer/server/storage space now active within the entire 16 agency directorate of the DNI?
2) What is the total amount of square footage of the DNI and associated agency operational and computer/server/storage infrastructure planned for construction-completion and operation within the next 5 years?
3) Of the approximately 4.5-5 million active clearances, of all classification levels within agencies of the DNI, how many are government employees and how many are civilian contractors? What percentage of total TS/SCI clearances are held by civilian contractors?
4) What percentage of those clearances have current Special Security updates and Background Investigations (BI) completed on-time or pending? Is that completion rate audited and supplied to Congress?
5) What is the total number of separate units and physical operational sites/installations reporting to DNI inside and outside the geographic boundaries of the United States through Agency/Service heads?
6) How many allied countries does the US government have intelligence-sharing agreements with? How many adversary/enemy countries do we have intelligence-sharing agreements?
7) Of the number of allied countries provided does the US government provide money or funding to support a portion or all of their intelligence gathering/analysis capabilities? How many adversaries do we provide a portion of the funding/equipment and training for their intelligence gathering capability?
8) What is the total US government intelligence-gathering/support/operational budget for all agencies/entities contained within the DNI? Outside the DNI?
9) In terms of Petabytes what is the current combined online structured storage/library/archive capability of all agencies/subcontractors and foreign entities of the DNI? Offline? Planned within the next 5 years?
10) How many total cases/targets does the NSA and DNI track in real-time? How many in non-real time?
11) Within the intelligence-sharing agreements indicated in questions 6 and 7; how many foreign agencies supply intelligence data and information on domestic communications, of all types, within the geographic boundaries of the US to US agencies? In how many countries does the US reciprocate the same to those allied foreign intel services ? For adversaries?
12) In the last 5 years, how many US citizens have had their personal digital and other communications monitored and/or tracked in any way by US agencies when engaged in communications with other US citizens outside the geographic boundaries of the US? How many have been supplied by foreign intercept agencies to US agencies? How many foreign citizens, Canadians for example, have had call metadata and other captured and archived communications data supplied by US Agencies to CSEC. Repeat the same data for our top 10 allied countries?
13) In the last 5 years, how many US citizens have had their personal communications monitored in any way when engaged in communications with non-US citizens when traveling outside the geographic boundaries of the US?
14) In how many allied countries does the NSA/DNI monitor the private personal and official communications and track employees or officials of those governments?
15) How many domestic and international US corporations does the NSA/DNI track the internal, personal and private communications of those corporations an/or their senior executives and employees? How many foreign corporations?
16) Since 1980, with how many allied governments has the US/NSA/CIA/NRO provided/shared intelligence data gathered by US agencies on their own internal opposition?
17) Since 1990, how many US Corporation’s executives/employees have been briefed on intelligence data collected against their foreign competitors by US government resources? How many have been actively supplied current intelligence before attending trade fairs and economic summits?
18) How many domestic US private and political organizations, either incorporated or free association, have had their members, leaders and activities electronically monitored and archived?
19) Since 1975, in how many non-adversarial countries has the CIA and other US government Intel agencies and their contractors actively interfered in the internal policy, governance or political structure? Since 1975, how many foreign allied governments have had a change of government directly due to US Government and agency interference and/or manipulation or intelligence disclosures?
20) How many military, state- or federal-elected officials have been monitored and have specifically archived information about their movements, personal communications and private lives while in government service? Outside of government service?
21) What is the justification for the “Special Caveats and Exemption” system, used for US data classification, not de-classifying all documents and information at 25 and 35 years maximum regardless of origin?
22) When will US Embassy/Diplomatic Mission and all intel traffic and communications associated with our operations in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran be declassified and released from the period 1978-1982 inclusive?
There is not one reason why answers to every one of those questions should not be disclosed to every member of the House and Senate regardless of whether they sit on an Intelligence Committee. Every single member of Congress should be “read-in” and know the answers to the above, at minimum.
After that disclosure and full debate there’s very few reasons why the general scope of many answers to those questions couldn’t be publicly disclosed to all Americans. With modest redaction and cleansing there’s no reason why nearly the entirety of the above couldn’t be disclosed. The same should be done for all that we know of the foreign operations of every adversary country
Only then can the citizens be informed to the level necessary to begin to understand what has happened to the United States and the rest of the world in the past 50 years. Only then can the citizens perform their role in the command-management and control functions designated in the Constitution to limit current misbehaviors in the security and defense of the United States.